The 100 Mile Hospice Memory Tree is lit up for Christmas to honour of those no longer with us. (Kelly Sinoski photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

The 100 Mile Hospice Memory Tree is lit up for Christmas to honour of those no longer with us. (Kelly Sinoski photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Charities seeing higher-than-usual donations

Campaign donations have already surpassed $40,000.

The Spirit of Giving is alive and well in 100 Mile House this holiday season.

While COVID-19 has tightened many wallets this year, 100 Mile House residents continue to donate to local charities and initiatives. From the Starry Nights Fundraiser to the 100 Mile House Food Bank’s Christmas hampers, donations are higher than expected.

Brenda Devine, who handles public relations and fundraising for the South Cariboo Health Foundation, said donations to the Starry Nights campaign have already surpassed $40,000 and they are on track for a successful year. The campaign, which runs until January, is raising money for 100 Mile Hospice’s two specialized palliative care rooms at the hospital. Those looking to donate to Starry Nights can do so by sending cheques or money via mail to Bag 399, 100 Mile House, V0K 2E0 or by dropping it off at the 100 Mile General Hospital’s reception desks.

“I just want to thank people for their generosity and understanding of how serious some of these situations are,” Devine said, adding she is pleased with how things are going. “We’re in a serious health situation because of COVID and people are still able to give and are being very generous.”

100 Mile Hospice’s other fundraising events are also doing well, said executive director Tracy Haddow. The hospice’s 50/50 fundraiser is especially important this year as so many of their other fundraisers were cancelled by COVID-19.

Haddow said they’ve got multiple books containing 1,000 tickets making the rounds which, if they all sell, will raise $25,000 for the hospice and $25,000 for the grand prize. So far they’ve sold around 20 books worth of tickets which means they have raised $10,000 in total. She said she’d like to see that total go up in the last few weeks.

“This year we decided we had to just get bold and jump right in with the 50/50 so we decided to do it big, with the hopes that the community would recognize it as a way to support us and win an amazing price,” Haddow said, adding the prize is half of whatever they sell.

Tickets can be bought in a few businesses around town including Life Cycle Finacial, Donex Pharmacy, the Hungry Bear Diner in Lac La Hache, the Sugar Shack in 70 Mile House, Lone Butte Sporting Goods, from various hospice volunteers or online via their webpage. Tickets cost $50 each and she encourages the community to team up to buy them if $50 is too steep for an individual.

READ MORE: Starry nights to light up 100 Mile Hospital Nov. 20

Ticket sales stop on Dec. 21 at noon to give them time to gather them all together, while the winner will be drawn live on the radio between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. on Dec. 23.

“All of the money that comes through this is what we’re kind of relying on to keep our program running at our full capacity,” Haddow said, adding the community has already shown amazing support in helping them furnish their new palliative rooms at the hospital.

As far as toy drives go, the Cariboo Family Enrichment Centre is getting a fair amount of donations for its Touch of Christmas Campaign, said administration supervisor Debbra Williams. The program is designed to give local families a hand during the holidays with a Christmas basket with food and toys for their children.

People can still apply for one of these baskets.

The centre is assisted by Royal LePage 100 Mile Realty, which raises money and toys for the program every year.

“We’re still taking donations towards our Touch of Christmas campaign. This year we’re requesting donations of gift cards, specifically, because it will help our local businesses get through the problems we’ve all faced this year with COVID, but mainly because it does give people receiving these Christmas basket the opportunity and empowerment to choose their own gifts,” Williams said.

She added they’re accepting gift cards for hair salons, coffee shops, stores, grocery cards and even fuel vouchers.

Donations are taken in-person at the door and can include gift cards, cheques, money, new toys and books, with tax receipts available for those who want them.

Likewise, Williams said those who wish to receive a basket can come to the office where, after a COVID screening, they’ll be asked to fill out a form with their information.

Baskets will be distributed by the end of this week in a staggered manner with recipients receiving times to swing by the office to avoid a build-up of people.

“The community is very generous and we’re very grateful for all the assistance we’re getting from the community to support several members of the community who need help,” Williams said.

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